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Matthew Bourne - Sleeping Beauty 2012/13


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Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty arrived at the Lowry tonight after its world premiere in Plymouth last week.

 

It is described as a Gothic Romance and Lez Brotherston's sets and costumes are lavishly gothic and utterly fabulous and really set the scene. Our Sleeping Beauty is born in 1890 (the prologue) and comes of age (and is sent to sleep ) in 1911. The reawakening takes place in 2011.

 

I don't want to ruin everyone's voyage of discovery by disclosing that "the butler did it" but I will say that the opening scenes with the baby Aurora are just brilliant. There are six fairies - 3 men and 3 women. Lilac is Count Lilac. Carabosse is only in the prologue and the dark fairy role is then taken over by her son Caradoc (played by the same dancer).

 

I just LOVED the fairy costumes. The solos for the six fairies gave a tantalising hint of the Petipa choreography we all know and love - especially the 5th and 6th variations. There isn't a rose adagio but there is a lovely duet for Aurora and a gardener to that music. The "pricking of the thumb" is achieved by a rose, which makes perfect sense.

 

There are several twists to the standard story which I won't reveal except to say that it all ends happily!

 

Matthew Bourne certainly knows how to put a show together and on first viewing this has become one of my favourites! It has similarly sly references to royalty as those contained in Swan Lake and there are some fun scenes at Aurora's party (which takes the form of a garden party with tennis).

 

I felt a degree of sympathy with Caradoc which I do not usually feel for Carabosse in more conventional productions.

 

Tonight we saw Hannah Vassallo as Aurora, Dominic North as Leo, Chrisopher Marney as Count Lilac and Ben Bunce as Carabosse/Caradoc. Both Ben Bunce and Christopher Marney had enormous stage presence and really seemed to be manipulating the action. Hannah Vassallo and Dominic North were sublime in their roles.

 

What more can I say - I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!

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When I was rummaging through copies of The Times in the library yesterday, it looked as though there was some feature on SB in Saturday's edition. Did anyone see it, and is it worth making an effort to get hold of?

 

I kept it to read nearer the time as it does explain some unusual things about this production, Matthew Bourne visited Tchaikovsky's house at Klin and the vision scene was inspired by the view of the forest outside, no live orchestra, 2 acts of 57 and 47 minutes, no Prince but Aurora's boyfriend turned into a vampire by Count Lilac, for example!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well, I went to see Sleeping Beauty last night and here goes with my first ever critique for ballet.co. It is only my own personal and humble opinion and I am not as articulate as many others on here! :-)

 

I totally agree with Janet that the sets, lighting and costumes are absolutely spectacular and baby Aurora is pure genius. There are some very clever, funny and unexpected moments throughout the piece and it is visually stunning.

 

However I did feel it was slightly disjointed. The only reference to the final act being in 2011 (apart from it being emblazoned across the curtain) was a few dancers strolling across the stage in hoodies and using mobile phones. It then, in my opinion returned to the dark Gothic influences of the first Act.

 

I found there was not enough going on at the garden party in the second Act to keep me fully engaged until the appearance of Caradoc. I personally prefer David Nixon's interpretation of an Edwardian lakeside party in Northern Ballet's Swan Lake. However, I also enjoyed the duet between Aurora and Leo to the music of the Rose Adagio.

 

Adam Maskell was dancing Carabosse/Caradoc last night and he was both menacing and charasmatic in equal measures. He commanded attention the whole time he was on stage.

Ashley Shaw as Aurora was absolutely beautiful and had a fragile, ethereal quality to her dancing.

In fact all the principal dancers and the fairies gave great performances.

I was slightly disappointed in the group dance sequences, it was not as tight as it could have been and I found the choreography quite safe and a little dull if I'm totally honest!

 

Having said all that it was a great night of theatre danced to an appreciative audience in a full house at The Lowry.

 

I think one of the reasons why I personally was not totally bowled over by it is that last Friday evening I had the utter privilige of paying £1.00 to stand and watch the James Wilton Dance Company at the Riley Theatre in Leeds.

The choreography in the 3 pieces performed was powerful, dynamic and innovative and like nothing I had seen before. The standard of dancing from James Wilton and Sarah Jane Taylor in particular was absolutely jaw dropping!

With no props, no costumes, no gimmicks and 4 dancers it was the most exciting hour of dance I have ever watched.

 

Move over Matthew Bourne I think James Wilton is the future!

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Alison: No sign of anything on the Telegraph thus far. I've found that there's little consistency about when articles in the Sunday SEVEN magazine appear online, and I'm sure I've seen things posted from the Friday before to as far as the Wednesday afterwards. The Saturday magazine may be similarly unpredictable.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I saw last night's, it appears it was the press night and it was a great performance, but it will take another viewing to really get into, for a start I'm not exactly sure who I saw, the programme lists 2 or 3 casts for the major roles and no cast list was available, maybe there's one online? Also there's no synopsis, the only time I've needed one for Sleeping Beauty :) and I was rather confused. Some of the costumes and designs are fabulous, Act 2 being a highlight, and it looks as if Matthew Bourne just might have been a little inspired by Petipa, there seems to be more actual ballet dancing than usual, looking forward to seeing it again when I know more about it, if anyone else did go last night and knows the casting I'd be grateful, Count Lilac and Caradoc in particular were brilliant and seemed to get the most applause.

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We were only given two extracts at yesterday afternoon's photocall as seen in the preceding post they were performing last night. From Act 1: The Fairies Visit Baby Aurora and from Act 3 The Bedroom Duet to end of Act. Here are a couple of pictures to mark the occasion. The animated Baby Aurora was very well done.

 

 

Matthew+Bourne_s+Sleeping+Beauty_jr_043_beauty_walkling_kamata_baby_1000.jpg.small.jpg

 

 

Joe Walkling as Autumnus the Fairy of Plenty and Mari Kamata as Ardor the Fairy of Passion with Baby Aurora

 

 

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Ben Bunce as Caradoc and sleeping Aurora - Hannah Vassallo

 

More pictures on www.johnrossballetgallery.co.uk

Edited by johnross
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Copying this in from the Christmas TV thread:

 

Just noticed that next Tuesday 18th December BBC1 has an Imagine documentary with Alan Yentob about the creation of Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty, 10.35-11.35pm, sounds very interesting, possibly the only new ballet programme, apart from the Vienna New Year Gala.

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  • 3 weeks later...

re: Cast List . In the foyer at Sadlers Wells, on the ground floor, near the ice cream stall at the back, there is a large white board giving the casting for that performance...it would help if this was shown on the other levels of the theatre too.

I went for the second time last night and really enjoyed the show.I love the Lez Brotherston designs and the more balletic style of dancing, the fairies in particular, and the pdd for Aurora and her gardener 'prince' is very nice at the end.

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Just back from tonight's storming performance at Sadler's Wells - a supremely well-wrought piece of theatre. If you can make it before 26 January, just go!!

 

I too attended this evenings performance and fully concur with this. My only criticism is the lack of live music which renders the whole evening rather two dimensional. A fantastic theatrical experience though.

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